Quebec Transport Minister Poeti says West Island is public transit priority

Coalition for the Train de l’Ouest Coalition hopeful

By Kevin Woodhouse

West and Off Island railway commuters can take Minister of Transport’ Robert Poeti’s recent comments to make improvements to the current system a priority as a hopeful sign that the Train de l’ouest railway project will see the light of day.

“Mr. Poeti said that it is at the top of his list and the Train de l’Ouest project also has Premier Philippe Couillard’s approval as well,” said Maria Tutino, Baie D’Urfe mayor, Coalition for the Train de l’ouest mayors’ representatives and recently appointed vice-president of the Regroupement des municipalités de l’Ouest, a legal entity that now comprises more than 1,200 square kilometres and almost half a million residents.

The new legal entity was created to deal with provincial and federal governments with a common and united front for dossiers such as infrastructure, health care and public transportation, an issue affecting all residents.

Tutino is confident that the newly elected Liberal majority government can “break the back on the project within its first mandate.

“There are not enough trains after rush hour service and for some of the West Island municipalities with industrial parks that run 24 hours a day, companies are finding it hard to attract employees who have little choice for public transportation during non-rush hour traffic times,” Tutino told The Suburban.

In 2012, the AMT, along with West Island municipalities, began a committee to find winning solutions to the lack of trains for West Island users. The previous Liberal government awarded $22 million for a feasibility study for the railway project. 

“Some of the results have been shared,” said Tutino. She acknowledged that the idea of trains every half hour running from Ste. Anne de Bellevue into the city and back again, while ideal, is “extraordinarily expensive. A compromise of a train every hour outside of rush hour traffic running every day from 6 a.m.-midnight would be more feasible.”

Next up will be mayors, Coalition for the Train de l’ouest and municipal representatives making a visit to Poeti’s offices in Quebec City to get the project rolling forward. Members of the Regroupement des municipalités de l’ouest will likely make the trip as well.

“We are hoping that the money will be put in every year of the next budget due out in June,” said Tutino. “If the government could follow up on that, by the end of their first mandate, the Train de l’ouest could be well on track.”
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